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Dickinson RSVP Launches Literacy Partners Okoboji First Graders Get Free Books

December 23, 2019

(Algona, Iowa) Dickinson County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) launched Literacy Partners on Wednesday, December 18, when DeNeitt VanDenBroeke, the Dickinson County RSVP Coordinator, and Patsy Donovan, an RSVP volunteer, delivered books to the Okoboji Elementary School.

During the event, VanDenBroeke and Donovan allowed 74 first graders to choose a new book and write their names in it to take home to begin or add to their personal library. Children were able to select books from an array of Scholastic Book Club options representing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles with the reading levels most common among first-grade students.

"It was so much fun to share the student's excitement as they selected a book knowing they were going to be able to take them home and share them with their families," shared VanDenBroeke. "I loved hearing the children saying things like 'This is my favorite book, and I can read it myself!' and 'I've always wanted this book.' The launch of Literacy Partners was a huge success."

Reading has a profound impact on a child's life. Children who read are the best spellers, writers and thinkers. Research shows that the mere presence of books in the home profoundly impacts a child's academic achievement.

The RSVP program collaborated with the Dickinson County Endowment Fund (DCEF) to obtain funding to establish Literacy Partners in Dickinson County and the Okoboji Elementary School. RSVP has partnered with Iowa Lakes Community College since 1977 to help meet community needs.

Dickinson County RSVP is modeling the Literacy Partners program after the program in Clay County run by Clay County RSVP, where approximately 1300 students in grades K-6  in Spencer schools get free books. Starting with the first grade this school year, Dickinson RSVP hopes to continue adding more classes over time as funding becomes more established.

Northwest Iowa RSVP supports K12 education through the Pen Pal program, Reading Buddies and placing volunteers as tutors in schools, as well as helping get books into the hand of children in partnership with schools and local organizations.

For more information or to contribute to the Dickinson County RSVP Literacy Partners program, please contact DeNeitt VanDenBroeke at dvandenbroeke@iowalakes.edu or 712.336.6577.

For More Information:

Dawn Bernhard at 515-295-8522 or dbernhard@iowalakes.edu

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